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Huma Qureshi on Thappad: Taapsee Pannu did a wonderful job in the film

According to Huma, there has been an interesting shift in the way storytellers now approach female characters on screen

Huma Qureshi on Thappad: Taapsee Pannu did a wonderful job in the film
Huma Qureshi

Last Updated: 10.04 AM, Mar 05, 2023


Huma Qureshi - who is known for powerhouse performances in films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Badlapur and Monica, O My Darling and OTT shows like Leila and Maharani - feels it’s an exciting time for female artistes in cinema. According to the actress, there has been an interesting shift in the way storytellers now approach female characters on screen.

“In recent times, we have seen many women-centred films. It is not only the female-led films that are creating a sense of empowerment. Today, when I read a script, the character of the girl is not just contributing towards the hero’s journey or is not someone waiting for the war hero to return home. Rather, we think why can’t a girl go to the border? So, that shift in the way we are approaching stories and storytelling has come about. There are many other colleagues of mine, who are saying give us more to do,” Huma told the PTI recently.

On Friday, the 36-year-old actress was speaking as part of a panel discussion on The Role of Media and Entertainment in Empowering Women. The conversation was part of a special segment, called Her Story, Her Voice, organised by Netflix and the National Commission of Women.

Huma said that Alia Bhatt’s Darlings and Taapsee Pannu’s Thappad are among her favourite films in recent times that broke stereotypes, in terms of storytelling. “When I saw Thappad, I was like, I wish I had done the film. Taapsee did a wonderful job and Anubhav [Sinha] sir directed a beautiful film,” she said. The love and appreciation that the film, which also starred Pavail Gulati, Kumud Mishra, Dia Mirza and Ratna Pathak Shah - received from audiences made Huma happy.

“In a country where domestic violence is quite prevalent to talk and fight about, one Thappad in itself and we know how conventional theatrical business runs, like who will watch this film? This is a bundle idea and this is how people talk. But the film to come and to do well at the box office, it gave me a lot of heart,” she added. Citing the example of Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 movie Django Unchained, Huma said that in the film, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a white guy, who hates black people, but actors sometimes pick such dark characters to send across a message.

“As an actor, sometimes, you are given something to do which is problematic and it is a personal choice. I am offering a perspective. I was watching the making of Django... and he [Leonardo] said that there was a moment where he had to spit on his fellow actor, and he couldn’t do it because it was disturbing and humiliating another person on the basis of his colour and race. But it is also generational racism that the film is trying to address. He chose to do the film, because an actor of his stature doing it would create a conversation around it. So, sometimes it can be used to an advantage.

While speaking as part of the panel discussion, Huma also stressed the importance of having more representation of women at work places to create a safe environment. “We need strong, powerful women. We try in my company to have as many numbers of females in the crew as possible, for the safer environment it is. That is the fact... A lot of us don’t speak of sexual harassment because we don’t want to be that girl. If there are more women, they will be able to relate and take action,” she summed up.

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